[Video Link, the referenced video became non-embeddable on the boingboing.net domain as of 11:50pm PT.]
I try to avoid blogging about Sarah Palin, for the same reasons I've tried to avoid blogging about Snooki and Paris Hilton, and feeding any number of garden variety internet trolls. Today, I will ask for your forgiveness, and break this rule.
Sarah Palin released a web video today in which she reads a speech off a teleprompter about "freedom" and the recent mass shooting in Arizona. In this speech, she reads the phrase "Journalists and pundints [sic] should not manufacture a blood libel."
So, here's what blood libel historically refers to:
1) [A notorious Bible verse, Matthew 27:25,] taken by Christians for centuries to indicate that the Jewish people as a whole and for perpetuity bore direct responsibility for the crucifixion and were therefore fair game for persecution and extermination.
2) A false accusation or claim that religious minorities, almost always Jews, murder children to use their blood in certain aspects of their religious rituals and holidays. Historically, these claims have-alongside those of well poisoning and host desecration-been a major theme in European persecution of Jews. The libels typically allege that Jews require human blood for the baking of matzos for Passover.
Incidentally, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head on Saturday in Tucson and remains in critical condition in an Arizona hospital, is Jewish. She is, in fact, the first Jewish congresswoman to have ever been elected in Arizona. Her grandfather changed the family name from "Hornstein" to avoid anti-Semitism in an earlier era.
Looks like Palin's speechwriters picked up "blood libel" from Glenn Reynolds in the Wall Street Journal just a day before [UPDATE: Glenn's response is now here.] Glenn is no dummy, and is a friend of this blog, and should know better. Shame on all of you for not fact-checking, unless it is true that we "journalists and pundints [sic]" have been manufacturing the zombie Jew slaughter of innocent Christian babies and using their blood to bake delicious ZOG matzah. What is this I don't even.
Most importantly, "blood libel" and related anti-semitic slurs led directly to pogroms, and mass killings of Jewish people over generations. I don't suspect Reynolds would be so cold-blooded as to inject the term to pander to anti-semites and one-worlders, but I wouldn't put it past Palin's speechwriters.
• Jonah Goldberg in the National Review, on why this mis-use of the term is weird.
• USA Today on anti-semitic threats and Giffords
• Washington Post on the ADL's reaction
(Special thanks to Glenn Fleishman)